Saturday, May 02, 2020

Sunday Synopsis

An Innocent Client (Joe Dillard, #1)An Innocent Client by Scott Pratt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was looking for a new legal thriller, and I discovered Scott Pratt's series about Joe Dillard, criminal defense attorney. Overall, I really liked this book.

But there are a few things that bothered me. It seemed like the attorney, Joe, was the main character, but there were chapters that were written from different characters' points-of-view. One of them was the district attorney, another was a Tennessee Bureau of Investigations agent, and the fourth viewpoint was Erlene Barlowe, owner of a strip club that used to be run by her now-deceased husband. I would have preferred that the chapters about these characters were written in third person since Joe Dillard was supposed to be the main character. It's difficult to keep track of who "I" is when it shifts narrators so often.

None of the characters were truly likable. Not the victim, the assailant, the D. A., the agent, and not even the main character and his sister, for the most part. Something else that really bothered me was the dialect of the Erlene character. The book is set in Tennessee. The author was born in Michigan, I think, and moved to Tennessee when he was 13, so he should be able to emulate how a Southern woman would talk. But it was so bad! She called everyone sugar pie and sweetie and other terms of endearment that I don't think represent anyone's actual communication in this day and age. It was overkill. What bothered me most was when she said, "I swan." I had to look it up. I have NEVER heard that before! I believe it's the equivalent of "I swear."

I did like that the story was intriguing. A visiting preacher is in town to give a sermon. He takes the proceeds from the church service and squanders them at the Mouse's Tail strip club. He gets a little too friendly with one of the waitresses, and Erlene asks him to leave. The next day, he is found dead in his motel room. There were also subplots involving Joe's mother who has dementia, his sister who is a drug addict, and the victim's son who wants revenge.

Scott Pratt is not John Grisham, but I enjoy reading legal thrillers, and I will probably give Pratt another shot.

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